It is such a joy for me to introduce to you my sister and brother-in-law, Rev. Ron and Diddie Rush, a couple with a great big heart for God and for people. Scott and I and our teenagers joined Ron and Diddie at their church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on Easter Sunday. They did a little “Sunday duet” where Ron does the preaching and Diddie does the power point slides. I hope you’ll enjoy this message (condensed) as much as we did!
With Easter Sunday approaching, I was reading and praying for two months prior, to be able to see the Resurrection in a new light. I was reading in the Gospels (John 19:38-42) what I had read many times before but never saw it this way. I looked at the concepts of gardens in the Bible, starting at the beginning and going right through to the end. I hope this study helps you experience your walk with the Lord in a fresh way.
The Four Gardens
The First Garden is the Garden of Eden. God created man to have a relationship and walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He created man with glory and part of that glory was to have dominion over the animals. He made the garden a place of provision, protection and absolute freedom. It was here that the Tree of Life is mentioned. The created ones then fell into sin/death and lost the garden.
The Second Garden is the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was familiar with this garden by going there with his disciples and his “alone” times with the Father. It was in this garden where Jesus had his greatest struggle but surrendered to the Father’s plan/will.
The Third Garden is beside Golgotha. In John 19, I noticed the tomb was in a garden near Golgotha. Interestingly, this was a new tomb with no other bodies from family members, as was the custom. It was needed because the Sabbath was close at hand and they needed to bury Jesus quickly. This tomb was close and available.
The Fourth Garden is in the Glory of God. This garden is in Revelation 22. We see again that the tree of life is mentioned and the new Heaven. The Tree of Life was in the first Garden of Eden and now it is in Glory! What I found interesting is when man was removed from the garden it was because of the connection with the Tree of Life. When we read in Revelation 22, we see the Tree of Life on both sides of the “River of the Water of Life” and it bears twelve crops of fruit for every month, pointing again to God’s provision The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations, showing that God is a God of restoration.
In the first garden, we lost the face to face contact with Jesus, but we will have that face to face relationship again. Fully restored! Every garden represents a stage in life and God is in every garden. Because of the Resurrection, we have the hope of being restored right now in a personal relationship with Jesus and we can follow Him as Lord until we return to the future hope of seeing Jesus face to face.
There is HOPE in every Garden!
Ron Rush is pastor of New Providence Baptist Church in New Providence, PA. He enjoys golfing, racing, and especially his new grandson, Adam.